Past governments knew that they had to intervene to guide the economy
Following the devastation of the Great Depression and World War II, countries around the world knew that they needed to act to get the economy moving. They also realized that they had to build fairer societies, with strong economies, to avoid a repeat of the horrors that they had just seen.
While never perfect, the post-war boom saw the growth of well-paying and secure jobs and with them a middle class. In addition, vital infrastructure was built and important social programs were created and implemented.
New economic mantra of hands off and tax cuts
In the late 1970s, a new economic mantra began to take hold. It was argued that there was too much intervention in the economy, that workers and their unions had too much power. Wages and benefits were making businesses unprofitable. Social programs made people unwilling to work. This was a period where governments took a hands-off approach to the economy. Tax cuts, deregulation, and privatization became the dominant social policy tools.
Growth of low-wage, precarious, and contract jobs
After more than 4 decades of this approach, we are clearly seeing the results. Families are increasingly struggling to survive. More and more workers are forced into jobs that are insecure, temporary, and are low paying, without benefits or supports. In many instances, the social programs that were created to be there when people most desperately needed them have been weakened by cutbacks and attacks.
Need to plan for successful, strong, and green economy
But it doesn’t have to be this way. It is time to return to developing national economic strategies that can deliver good jobs with benefits. Strategies that can help our young people establish a career and build for their future. That will ensure that even the most vulnerable in our society receive the support and assistance that they need to lead full and happy lives.
As the world faces a global crisis of climate change, we need to plan for a just transition to a green economy. We need an economy that supports workers and their families, one that helps move us to an environmentally sustainable future.
An economic strategy developed through consultation with government, unions, businesses, academics, and the public is possible and necessary. The time is now to plan for the transition to a future with good green jobs for all!